Saturday, January 08, 2005

Natalie's in storming form
at B-BBC as she rounds on the Beeb (again, quite rightly) over the way they've stirred up the tsunami conspiracy 'theorists' (ahem). 'Irresponsible' is the BBC editorial staff's middle name.

Meanwhile I'm taking some advice and blogrolling the Diplomad, which has excelled in giving the UN the back of the hand it deserves.

Just to add to the above tsunami theme, Arthur Chrenkoff has a list of his top tsunami idiot-savants.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Covering the States

It might sound as though I'm inviting obsessiveness, but I really believe there would be a place out there for a blog devoted purely to covering the coverage the BBC extends to the US. Many good Americans are already concerned about this, and express their concerns, amongst others, at blogs like Last Night's BBC News and USS Neverdock, but really there should be no shame in a blog dedicated to tracking US coverage by the BBC, for several good reasons.

First of all there's the fact that the BBC coverage of US matters is large and growing. They are, I am quite sure, more fascinated by America than by any other country or any other region of the world. The BBC, as any voracious grazing mammoth might be, is constantly attracted to the nutrious plains of the USA newsscape. If its bad, and happens in the USA, the BBC is almost guaranteed to label it so and proclaim it.

There is a deeper reason though, which I find more disturbing. That is that the BBC is one of those remaining British institutions most intertwined with our history as a colonial power. Not only, therefore, does the notion of a neo-colonial US stimulate the sensitively attuned nostrils of the former British Empire Service, it also reawakens their appetite to influence history as it used to do in times of yore.

Even worse is that the BBC has for many years considered itself the conscience of the British nation, and consequently charged with expiating the sins of the past. So we have a post-colonial broadcaster, laden with a weight of the intellectual fashion to consider the British Empire a dirty compound noun, which nonetheless cannot deny its appetite for power and influence. A dangerous British brew, I continue to believe- that can be observed quite well from this post at LNBBCN.

So, when I see a vast array of anti-American articles expressed at BBC online (sometimes just a crucial word or two, determining the flow of the reader's thought), including utterly indefensible ones such as this, highlighted by Natalie at BBBC, and sentiments to match that across the BBC's networks, I think I know what is happening: the BBC is taking up the task of policing the policeman which it believes its forebear failed to do when it was the British Empire Service. For an example of that, the BBC's obsession with Guantanamo and abu Graib is a notable, continuing theme- as this LNBBCN post illustrates. What's bad about this general trend in particular is that it's a reflexive reaction to the criticisms of the British Empire that were mainly coaxed along by socialist and communists, and later splinters from those movements such as feminists, ecofreaks and race-warriors.

Thus we get ad infinitum negativity about the US', at best a faintness of praise when praise is truly deserved, and regular chances to bash the US in the solar plexus on the BBC's airwaves.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Mark Steyn is undoubtedly emerging from his early winter hibernation. That's great news, and in the meantime, while expecting little from him , I overlooked these trenchant comments on the environmental blather of our day. Maybe you did too. Different from his usual, and typically good.

More non-Reynolds (-previous post) UN/US aid effort comparisions in this NBR report via the Instapundit:

'As news media are increasingly dominated by footage of US, Australian and regional military forces actually delivering aid to stricken survivors of the Boxing Day tsunami, UN officials are carping about housing in major cities far removed from the front lines and passing around elaborate business cards.'

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

People I generally agree with, but...

Having (I guess) disagreed with Chrenkoff in my last post, I suppose I can broach another disagreement with a favourite site- A Tangled Web.

These guys are forthright and, to take one example where I appreciate this, it's in their forthright condemnation of the Republican fudge over power-sharing and violence in Ulster.

However, I disagree with them that Ariel Sharon is wrong in his guidance of Israel.

First I would say you have to judge a man by his enemies. Sharon is the enemy of the all the right people, and as Oliver Kamm says, has built a consenus in favour of defensive organisation around the fence and aggressive pursuit of Palestinian terrorists. This seems a balance around which Israeli opinion can cohere and remain firm. Gone will be all the rogue peace conferences between 'moderates' from Israel and charlatans from the rest of the world.

The enemies? Oh to speak from personal knowledge, the BBC and the British left- including much of New Labour (though not, I would say, Tony Blair himself directly). Excellent enemies to make! I wish the Conservatives could do the same. Melanie Phillips adds more.

Secondly, to refer back to Ireland, the willingness of the Israelis to hit back against Palestinian terrorists is a stark contrast to the UK policy of rapprochement with Sinn Fein. As CNN always quote Tony Blair, sometimes war brings a chance of peace.

Well, those are my two basic reasons, but look who hates Israel under Sharon according to Fred Siegel, and I think even David Vance ought to agree that the Israeli Prime MInister must be doing something right.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Brownie points for Reynolds.

Kudos, I suppose, to Paul Reynolds who received a 'read the whole thing' commendation from Arthur Chrenkoff as he rounded up news from the tsunami disaster.

Just a couple of points of criticism remain for me to make (and by the way, this is not a Reynolds-bash-based blog! I just happen to find that Mr Reynolds' judgements part of the BBC's faulty intellectual engine room).

Talking about the political fallout from disasters and governmental responses to it, Reynolds says that 'The perception of the United States in the world has been changed for the better, with the rapid despatch of a US aircraft carrier to ferry help by helicopter to the survivors in Aceh.'

Aside from the fact that the US response was only notable in the context of the inability or, more likely, unwillingness of others (eg. Indonesia's large military) to assist, particularly in Aceh, the implication is that the US somehow upped its game from a previously low level. Note that the perception (subjective) was changed by actions of aid-giving from the US (real)- therefore the previous perception must have been the consequence of real actions (or real 'inactions', but I find it difficult to believe the US is really viewed as lacking in willingess to act in a humanitarian fashion), like invading Iraq, just to pick as random example.

Reynolds says that the US had been in the doghouse because they acted without considering the UN (repeating a fashionable and self-fulfilling mantra), but the real issue is not the US' redemption by good works (which may be a French but is certainly not a US' ethos), but the vacuity and ineptitude of a UN that talks big and acts little. By a little faint praise of Bush's crew, Reynolds can do what he does best: temper the perception of the failings of the UN.

For the real analysis of the UN's actions we can only turn to people like Wretchard of the Belmont Club, who has been systematically dissecting the UN response to the tsunami in posts like this one.

Reynolds makes out that Colin Powell is the hero of the hour, massaging UN and US relations, when in fact the key to the good publicity the US has gained is that the UN have not been even at the starting line to make an impact on the disaster, and the heroic thing the US did was to ignore the UN and go alone effectually (not as quickly as I would have liked, but fast enough to catch the media attention). This go it alone ethos (or vast network of bilateral relations, as I prefer to call it) also enabled a successful invasion of Iraq. What ought to be seen in tandem, therefore, as a consistently successful policy of fairly consistently ignoring the UN, Reynolds wants to separate- in his usual obfuscatory fashion.

It's kind of reminiscent of all the other faint praise Liberals have made it their business to slap onto the Bush admin.: Colin Powell saves lazy Bush's bacon.

That's an analysis I don't for a moment believe, and never have.

Putting those issues aside for a moment though, I will acknowledge the breadth of Reynolds' allusions as being worthy of a link, anyway- thus preserving both my disagreement with Reynolds and my unbroken admiration of Arthur.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Oi, Beeb, what went wrong?

2004 was a bad year in the Beeb's history (at the link Melanie Phillips summarises the BBC's troubles after the Hutton Report, last January), except for those of us who would like to see the BBC as history, in which case it went grimly well.

Coming into 2004 there were still some optimists who believed the BBC could be saved from its legions of ideologues. There are fewer now, as the depth of the BBC's recalcitrance is clearer by the month, and its resistance to looking in the mirror when it comes to analysing the overmighty and incompetent grows ever deeper.

Maybe 2005 will be better, but it's difficult to see how if this article from Paul Reynolds is anything to go by.

I think that Arthur Chrenkoff's overt approach to 'Good News from Iraq' is obviously far more up front and factually based than any of Reynolds' anti-Iraq war propaganda masquerading as informed and balanced opinion. The latest Chenkoffian item here.

Meanwhile I don't think Chrenkoff mentioned Logan, but here he is, via IraqtheModel.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

BBC cutting edge journalism: 'The World Shows its Compassion'

That was the headline yesterday on BBCWorld. As an introduction to a journalistic item it's mind-numbingly moralising. As invaluable Andrew at B-BBC has pointed out , the BBC has an interesting way of presenting even the donation of aid in a politicised way. The discreditation of the Beeb is surely gathering pace by their own actions, which is sad in a way.

Such headlines as the BBC's above are really another way of hastening the process whereby the world, ostrich-like, puts its head in the sand. I hope this doesn't happen as completely as in the past when the world has briefly felt its pulse quicken, but if it doesn't it'll be no thanks to the Beeb.

Reading this post from Helen Szamuely at Euro-Ref. blog, I couldn't help smiling a little and wanting to bill it 'everything you'll never hear examined on the Beeb'. It sort of starts where I left off two days ago, with extra bonus points for hitting harder and longer.

In a similar vein the Diplomad offers an antidote to the surfeit of fawning praise being directed at the UN as the only organ capable of coordinating international aid. In the UK we have double or treble helpings of this staple food thanks to a combination of the BBC, the New Labour machine and assorted journalistic sycophants. (from Arthur Chrenkoff)

Meanwhile, another lady I know has been extremely miffed with the BBC in many areas, but especially over Iraq and Israel. The argument I am familiar with; it doesn't change. Truth usually comes in with a certain immutability, I find. Melanie Phillips goes back to basics in tearing strips off the seemingly mentally retarded legions of journalists led by the BBC.

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